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2 September 2013
We asked some of Australia21's  young volunteers to comment on ‘The 2013 Election Agenda: What I think should matter and why’. Here's what Kathryn Hedger said.
 

 Is youth based policy enough to re-engage young voters?


 I would like to hear one of the major parties (excluding The Greens) say very loudly, and very clearly, that seeking asylum, by boat or plane, is not illegal... and I would like to see policy discussion of de-criminalisation and regulation of illicit substances on the agenda

From listening to reports of the election campaign, it seems that our politicians think that the young voter has become disinterested in politics; so now we have Kevin Rudd attempting to re-engage the youth vote. But will an increased emphasis on youth-based policy be enough to re-engage the youth vote? 

From listening to Triple J’s ‘Hack’ program and my peers as well, it seems quite clear to me that this re-engagement (if in fact we  actually have ever been engaged rather than bored) will not suffice. Why? Because, and I quote; “they’re both clowns, there’s nothing separating them from each other”.
 
So with this thought in mind, what do I, as a young voter, think should matter and why?
 
Firstly, I would like to hear one of the major parties (excluding The Greens) say very loudly, and very clearly, that seeking asylum, by boat or plane, is not illegal. The moral panic that has been created by the media has, as usual, sunk into general perceptions and made its way into the 2013 Election. I find it deeply concerning that neither of the major parties has made a significant attempt to clarify misperception around asylum seekers coming to Australia.
 
Secondly, I would like to see policy discussion of de-criminalisation and regulation of illicit substances on the agenda. The ‘War on Drugs’ and ‘Tough on Drugs’ policy has been ongoing since its inception in the United States in the early 1970s. However, illicit substances remain widely available in the community until this day, costing our health care and criminal justice systems millions of dollars annually. Prohibition is very expensive. The new call for the de-criminalisation and regulation of illicit substances has gone global. It is about time that it entered the Australian political scene more broadly.
 
These are just two items on my agenda. I just hope that we begin to see  proper discussion of issues like this on the 2013 Election Agenda.

 

Kathryn  Hedger is completing post graduate studies in the Criminology and Criminal Justice field. She says: "I decided to volunteer with Australia 21 in order to contribute to society by furthering the organisation's research surrounding social justice issues."


 

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